Pamelaria, a large, long-necked protorosaur

Pamelaria dolichotrachela (Sen 2003) Middle Triassic, is the largest known prolacertiform (= protorosaur) and it has the longest neck of them all. (Please, remember Tanystropheus is a tritosaur lizard, not a prolacertiform/protorosaur).

Pamelaria, an long-necked protorosaur related to Protorosaurus.

Figure 1. Pamelaria, an long-necked protorosaur related to Protorosaurus.

Distinct from Protorosaurus, the skull of Pamelaria was relatively smaller with a shorter rostrum and smaller teeth. The nares were reported as confluent, and indeed they may be so, but that area of the skull was poorly preserved. The premaxilla was more robust. The postorbital was waisted at the postfrontal process. The quadrate was nearly vertical. The lacrimal was larger. The orbit was taller than long. The palate included smaller openings for the choanae due to a wider set of vomers. The parasphenoid was larger. The mandible elements were all shorter, including the teeth. The ventral rim of the mandible was straighter.

The cervicals were each longer. The tail was relatively shorter. The dorsal ribs were longer and more robust, enclosing a larger gut.

The scapula was taller and not fused to the coracoid. The forelimbs were more robust. Digits 3 and 4 were nearly equal in length. Ungual 1 was deeper proximally.

The pelvis was relatively shorter with an excavated ventral rim. The fibula was bowed away from the tibia. The foot was more robust with shorter digits. Metatarsals 2 and 3 were aligned with the base of ungual 1.

Sen (2003) considered Pamelaria a carnivore. With a bulkier body, smaller head and longer neck, Pamelaria must have looked like a sauropod, except with sprawling, lizard-like limbs (reminiscent of the earliest reconstructions of sauropods!). The small teeth and large gut suggest an herbivorous diet.

Pamelaria was a derived taxon leaving no known descendants. I see it as convergent to dinocephalians in respect to the torso, tails and limbs.

As always, I encourage readers to see specimens, make observations and come to your own conclusions. Test. Test. And test again.

Evidence and support in the form of nexus, pdf and jpeg files will be sent to all who request additional data.

Sen K 2003. Pamelaria dolichotrachela, a new prolacertid reptile from the Middle Triassic of India. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences 21: 663–681.

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